Nathan Critchlow is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health, University of Stirling. He specialises in analysing commercial determinants of health, the impact of marketing exposure on health-related attitudes and behaviours, and the regulation of marketing practice. His previous research includes analyses of price and market changes following the introduction of standardised tobacco packaging and minimum unit pricing for alcohol, national surveys of adolescent and young adult exposure to alcohol and food marketing, and research into digital marketing, sport sponsorship, advert design, and marketing regulation. His current work includes research into tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and food marketing. He is also on the board of directors at Alcohol Focus Scotland and was previously on secondment as a prevention researcher with the Cancer Policy Research Centre at Cancer Research UK.
Examining the implementation and early impact of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act in Ireland: Findings from two data sources
Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Act, which became law in October 2018, provides an opportunity to gather real-world evidence about the implementation of statutory controls for alcohol marketing. This presentation examines the impact of Ireland’s first set of advertising restrictions (in cinemas, on public transport, and some outdoor) and stakeholder representations about the Act. Repeat cross-sectional surveys assessed past-month awareness of alcohol marketing among adults before (n=1,007; October 2019) and after (n=1,020; October 2020) the initial advertising restrictions were implemented in November 2019. A thematic analysis of stakeholders’ perspectives of the Act, identified from relevant newspaper articles published October 2018 to May 2021 (n=145), was also conducted. The surveys show that awareness decreased for the advertising activities subject to the initial restrictions. That awareness also decreased for activities not subject to restrictions suggests that COVID-19 may be a confounder. The newspaper data show that implementation is occurring against a backdrop of arguments about need and effectiveness. Stakeholders in favour of the Act focused on why the measures are required and frustration about speed of implementation. Those opposed to the Act challenged its necessity, forecast harm to the industry, and highlighted issues generated by a lack of comparable controls in Northern Ireland.
The survey was funded by the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA), the Institute for Public Health in Ireland (IPH), and the University of Stirling. The news framing analysis was funded through a fellowship from the SSA.